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University in the spotlight: University of Geneva

What is the University of Geneva ?

• 16,500 students with more than 140 nationalities, of which 60% women
• 5,200 employees, 48% women
• 9 faculties: Science, Medicine, Arts, Science Society, Economics and Management, Law, Theology, Psychology and Educational Science, Translation and Interpretation
• 9 Centers and Interfaculty Institutes: University Computing Center (CUI), Interdisciplinary Center of Gerontology (IGC), European Institute of the University of Geneva (IEUG), Institute of History of the Reformation (IHR), Institute of Science Environment (ISE), University Institute of Teacher Training (IUFE), Interdisciplinary Centre for Neuroscience, Interdisciplinary Centre for Affective Science (CISA), University Institute Finance
• 6 National Centers of Competence in Research: Chemical Biology, Affective Sciences, Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases, LIVES-Overcoming vulnerabilities in a life course perspective, PlanetS and SwissMap
• More than 3,300 annual publications
• 250 continuing education programs for 10,000 participants
• 3,800 diplomas
• 28 Bachelors degrees
• 70 Master degrees
• 70 Doctorates degrees

Excellency of the Research at the University of Geneva

The National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCR) are an innovative funding instrument provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The program supports long-term research projects in areas that are of strategic importance to the future of science and the economy and society in Switzerland. Funding is awarded to research projects of outstanding quality which have a special emphasis on both interdisciplinary and new innovative approaches within disciplines. A NCCR has a maximum running time of twelve years.

As of 2014, two new NCCRs will be led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) :

• PlanetS, in collaboration with the University of Bern. Recent progress in planetology underlines the shift from an era marked by the discovery of exoplanets, initiated by the University of Geneva in 1995, to an era of physical and chemical characterization of those new worlds. In this context, PlanetS will develop its activities around three main themes: the origin of planets and planetary systems, their evolution, and their characterization.
• SwissMap, in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. SwissMap is a multidisciplinary project at the crossroads of mathematics and theoretical physics which aims to encourage the interactions between both fields, to provide a mathematical framework for modern physics theories and to exploit physics intuition in mathematical research.

These two new NCCRs once again demonstrate the excellence of the research conducted at the UNIGE.

Two NCCRs have been achieved and integrated at the UNIGE:

• The UNIGE led Frontiers in Genetics from 2001 to June 2013. The new Institute of Genetics and Genomics in Geneva will take over the activities of the NCCR. This institute brings together members of the School of Sciences, Medicine, and the University Hospital. The aim of the Institute is to promote research and education in the fields of genetics and genomics.
• The UNIGE was the leading house of MaNEP (Materials with Novel Electronic Properties) from 2001 to June 2013. The NCCR has had an extremely positive impact in reshaping the Swiss landscape in quantum electronic materials. The network counting over 250 high-level scientists established during MaNEP is to be maintained and developed through the Association. MaNEP Switzerland formed in late June 2013. MaNEP also remarkably bolstered condensed matter physics in Geneva, with an impact beyond the core topic of MaNEP, resulting in significant reinforcement of physics, astronomy, and mathematics at UNIGE.

This brings the number of NCCRs who were attached to the UNIGE since 2001 to eight.

We offer several projects of research for EuroScholars students which are linked to NCCRs:

1. Affective Science, NCCR Affective Science
2. Primed Effort in cognitive Tasks: Effects on Cardiovascular Response, NCCR Affective Science
3. Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, NCCR Affective Science
4. Investigation of Structural Effects on the Transport Properties of a 2DEG at the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 Interface, NCCR MaNEP
5. Scanning Tunneling Spectroscopy, NCCR MaNEP
6. Spin-photon Coupling in 4f Transition Metal Oxides, NCCR MaNEP

National Latsis Prize 2013

David Sander, Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences and Director of the NCCR in Affective Science, was awarded the National Latsis Prize 2013 for his work on the emotions and their effects. The Fundation Latsis is a Swiss institution created in 1975. The National Latsis Prize is attributed by the Swiss National Funds.

Specialist of emotions, David Sander is particularly interested in the evaluation process by which we perceive the emotional value of events. In 2003, he caused a small revolution with the publication of an article, which calls in question the function assigned previously to the amygdala. While the dominant perspective considers at that time this brain structure as the « fear center », David Sander offers a hypothesis against this point of vue: the amygdala has a much broader function, which is to assess the relevance of events by informing us about what is important for us in terms of our goals, our values and well-being of the moment. With this hypothesis, he puts emotions in connection with the mind.

Convinced that the conceptual analysis of philosophy can enrich research in psychology, along with a better understanding of brain mechanisms, David Sander defends a mutlifaceted approach. He considers the synthetic image, psychophysiology, functional MRI, olfactometry or virtual reality as much allied to learn more about the human mind.

We offer several projects of research for EuroScholars students which are linked to Psychology :

1. Attention and Perception, Psychology
2. Education, schooling, and youth identity in multicultural contexts, Educational Science
3. Sleep and emotion regulation in humans : A brain Imaging approach, Experimental psychology
4. The causes of forgetting, Psychology

Update:  EuroScholars Program

The EuroScholars Program was launched in the beginning of 2008.

The name EuroScholars both reflects the academic basis (‘scholar’) and the geographical location of the program in Europe (‘euro’). Participants in the program become true ‘EuroScholars’ when they contribute to European scientific research. ‘Euro’ also expresses the different characteristics of the program being an abbreviation for 'European Undergraduate Research Opportunities'.

The EuroScholars Program is currently offered by a consortium of 9 European Research universities in 6 countries:

•           Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
•           KU Leuven, Belgium
•           Leiden University, the Netherlands
•           Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany
•           University of Geneva, Switzerland
•           University of Heidelberg, Germany
•           University of Helsinki, Finland
•           University of Zurich, Switzerland
•           Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Most of these universities are part of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). These universities carry out academic research at the highest level and in many different fields. Study areas in which students can do research range from Language & Culture, History, Humanities, Social Sciences, Physics, Biology, Biomedical Science, Law, Chemistry, Engineering, Psychology and many more.

Because of the profile of the consortium, the programme is exclusively attracting highly talented students. The minimum GPA requirement is 3.4.

EuroScholars is not a regular study abroad programme. The focus is not on the traditional study abroad students but on students in honors programmes. Therefore it doesn’t automatically fit in the regular study abroad services and procedures at both host and home universities. By its exclusive, innovative and individual nature the programme does not attract large numbers of students. The need for a tailor made and hence personalised approach does not allow large numbers of students either.

The EuroScholars Program currently offers about 160 research projects in almost all fields.

Since the 2008 Spring semester up to and including Spring 2014, we have welcomed a total of 87 students spread over all the participating European universities. Five students participated for 2 semesters. These students come from in total 50 North American institutions.

Most of these students have a background in Social Sciences, Sciences, Medicine and Biomedical Science.

Upcoming Conferences:
April 2014

(National Conferences on Undergraduate Research)
April 3 - 5 
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY

May 2014

May 25 - 30
San Diego, CA

Wednesday, May 28
8:30 - 10:00 AM
EuroScholars will be presenting a poster during the poster session.

Some of the members of the EuroScholars Consortium will attend the NAFSA.
Would you like to schedule a meeting, please contact:
Ms. Usha Mohunlol

September 2014

September 16 -19
Prague, Czech Republic

Some of the members of the EuroScholars Consortium will attend the EAIE.
Would you like to schedule a meeting, please contact:
Ms. Usha Mohunlol